Australian Wines & Wineries
An informative blog on wines and wineries of Australia. Know all wine news, events and industry analysis.
Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are two of the most beloved and popular red grape varieties across the globe. Their delightful aromas and flavours make them thoroughly enjoyable drinks that wine enthusiasts of all tastes and preferences can relish.
Although almost everybody loves these varietals, most people do not know how both of them differ from each other, in terms of style as well as flavour. Although quite similar, each of them has its own specific character set, and when they are fused together, an elegant and mouth-watering Cabernet Merlot blend is obtained, in which the individual traits of both varieties complement each other.
Both Merlot and Cab Sav originated in France’s Bordeaux region sometime between the 1600s and 1700s. An astonishing fact is that their parent grape is actually the same – Cabernet Franc, which is probably why they are so similar to each other.
Cabernet Sauvignon being older and bolder, feels like the older brother of Merlot. Its fruit contains higher levels of tannins, making the mouth feel dry. Cabernet Sauvignon wines generally have a strong and complex palate, with intense fruit flavours evident throughout the body of the wine. This grape variety also boasts of an impressive aging potential, with winemakers often commenting that Cab Sav wines need a longer aging time in the bottle before being opened so that the tannic level does not feel overpowering. Richer dishes and heaver meats pair exceptionally well with juicy yet powerful Cab Sav wines.
Merlot, on the other hand, can be considered the younger sibling of the two. Its mellow characters and delicate flavours make it an attractive and easy-drinking wine. Featuring juicy and supple flavours of cherry and chocolate, Merlot is often regarded as a ‘dessert wine’ or crowd pleaser. A fantastic drink to pop open on casual dinner parties or family dinners, Merlot matches well with junk food items like cheeseburgers, steak frites and soft cheeses. In blends where Merlot acts as the dominant grape, its soft and fruity flavours allow the wine to taste marvellous even at a young age, making it a desirable and loved grape variety.
Despite their differences, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend together exceptionally well, creating a wine that incorporates features from both these varieties. The Cabernet Sauvignon fruit provides tannins and a powerful backbone to the wine while the Merlot component adds juiciness and a light softness to it. The Cabernet Merlot blend is lauded by some as the greatest Australian red wine blend!